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Pugh's Place - West One CD (album) cover


Pugh's Place


Heavy Prog

3.19 | 7 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars I really adore the "progressive music in the making" that saw the light of day in the very end of the 60's. Exciting times, musically. Obviously bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Kinks (to name a few) led the way and eventually bands started to pick up on this progressive wave. The finest progressive album of 1969 was undoubtedly the King Crimson debut, which also stands as THE finest album ever in my book. Other bands tried hard to blast their way through the musical barriers of the day and sometimes they did quite well and sometimes the result was a bit mixed.

The Netherlands... How many excellent bands of prog have come from there? Quite a few and those that have managed to carve out their place in music history are extraordinary ones. I think of Focus, Ekseption, Supersister and a few others. Pugh's Place was a band that released one studio album before entering oblivion, more or less. They have maintained, not by choice but by necessity, a legacy of obscurity and few people are able to name drop them. And really I can see why.

The band is categorized as heavy prog and that seems fair enough but they could just aswell be called proto-prog. Regardless they play a nice, quite heavy mix of music. The instrumentation is beautifully noisy with organ, flute and heavy drums alongside lumbering bass and crashing guitars. On top of that they add vibes, which really brings something proggy to the table. The vocals? Let me get back to you on that one.

"West one" starts off with a cover of a Beatles song, "Drive my car". I think progressively arranged Beatles songs do work really well and this is no exception. Starting off with a heavy distorted guitar and an arrangement that encapsulates the song, the main riff comes in and everything seems just fine. Absolutely splendid. Unfortunately the band starts to sing. I like vocals just as much as the next man but the vocals are weak. Really weak and high pitched in a way that has absolutely nothing in common with a brilliant singer like Jon Anderson. The vocals are unimpressive and the very opposite to powerful. It's a shame. The musical arrangement and heavy sounding attack of guitar, organ and flute is very fine but the vocals disrupts the flow. Shame on such a promising opening.

On the whole the album is okay. It has it's moments but also it's lacklustre ones. "Old private John" is alright, as is "The prisoner" (note the vocals being processed through a Leslie speaker). "Give me good music" and "Secret" are above average and especially the former is enjoyable. The song "Secret" is the track that offers the most promise. The riff is very progressive sounding but it doesn't hold up, I'm afraid. When the vocals kick in it all takes a more average path. Not bad but not great either. "Lady power" is a nice ending but the lyrics are cringeworthy. So if you can look past that it's an alright track that starts off as a ballad but soon builds in stature and power.

In many ways they resemble Brainbox and in particular their second "progressive" album. Pugh's Place is a better album than that one but somehow the aspirations doesn't hold up to scrutiny. I applaud the effort and think that had Pugh's Place kept on going they might have progressed into something even more substantial in the world of prog. On "West One" they do a good job but it never really kicks off. It's progressive enough, though, and therefore interesting as a time piece. It may sound as though I am to discard this album as a bad one but I'm not. It's rather good and stands as a decent addition to your progressive all-round education. An album to enjoy but not the one you take with you on a journey to the far end of the universe.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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